Monday, September 25, 2023

Cal-Maine Foods reports record results for second quarter fiscal 2023

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RIDGELAND, Miss. — Cal-Maine Foods Inc. has today reported its results for the second quarter of fiscal 2023 ended Nov. 28, 2022.

  • Record quarterly net sales of $801.7 million, a 110 percent increase compared with the same quarter last year, driven by record average conventional egg selling price.
  • Record quarterly net income of $198.6 million, or $4.08 per basic and $4.07 per diluted common share.
  • Quarterly gross profit margin of 39.6 percent.
  • Cash dividend of $1.35 per share

“We are proud to report another strong quarterly financial and operating performance for Cal-Maine Foods, with record sales and net income for the second quarter of fiscal 2023,” Sherman Miller, CEO of Cal-Maine Foods, said. “These results reflect the current market environment characterized by record average selling prices for conventional eggs, primarily due to reduced supply related to the outbreak in the U.S. of highly pathogenic avian influenza (“HPAI”), and good customer demand. There have been no positive tests for HPAI at any of Cal-Maine Foods’ owned or contracted production facilities as of Dec. 28, 2022.

“Consumer demand for shell eggs continued to be good in the quarter, especially leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday, and we experienced record quarterly volume levels for specialty eggs sold. As always, we strive to offer consumers a wide range of quality choices in shell eggs as well as enhanced egg products offerings. Our ability to meet changing demand trends with a favorable product mix has been an important differentiator for Cal-Maine Foods. With solid execution, we continued to meet the needs of our customers.”

“We commend our managers and employees across our production facilities who continued to efficiently manage our operations and keep pace with demand,” Miller said. “Our results demonstrate the strength of our operating model and ability to execute our growth strategy in a dynamic environment. We believe we are uniquely positioned to leverage our scale to manage various market cycles and continue to extend our customer reach. Above all, we remain focused on our mission – to be the most sustainable producer and reliable supplier of fresh shell eggs and egg products in the United States.”

Max Bowman, chief financial officer of Cal-Maine Foods, added, “Our financial results for the quarter were boosted by a record top line performance of $801.7 million in net sales. Net income of $198.6 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2023 was another company record. The significantly higher selling prices, our enduring focus on cost control, and our ability to adapt to inflationary market pressures led to improved profitability overall with a gross profit margin of 39.6 percent for the second quarter of fiscal 2023, another record for Cal-Maine Foods.

“Egg prices have continued to move higher in fiscal 2023 due to the effects of a further reduction in supply related to the impact of the HPAI outbreak, combined with good customer demand buoyed in the second quarter of fiscal 2023 by typical seasonal consumer demand,” Bowman said. “Conventional egg net average selling price per dozen increased to $2.883 compared with $1.151 a year ago, and both conventional and specialty egg revenue reached record levels for the second quarter of fiscal 2023. Net average selling price for specialty eggs rose 24.9 percent to $2.370 per dozen, compared with $1.898 per dozen for the second quarter of 2022. We saw our highest ever quarterly sales of specialty eggs of $227.8 million, or 29.4 percent of total shell egg revenue. Specialty dozens sold were 33.8 percent of total dozens sold compared with 28.7 percent in the prior-year period.”

Sales performance & operating highlights

Net sales in the second quarter of fiscal 2023 were $801.7 million, compared with $381.7 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2022. The company reported net income of $198.6 million, or $4.08 per basic and $4.07 per diluted common share, compared with a net income of $1.2 million, or 2 cents per basic and diluted common share, in the prior year period.

For the second quarter of fiscal 2023, total dozens sold increased 5.4 percent to 284.1 million versus 269.6 million in the prior-year quarter, driven by strong sales volumes in the specialty eggs category. Conventional egg volumes sold decreased 2.2 percent compared with second quarter 2022, while specialty egg volumes sold increased by 24.1 percent. This increase in demand for specialty eggs was positively affected by the higher conventional egg prices as compared to the same period in the prior year. Conventional egg prices exceeding specialty egg prices have occurred for the past three quarters but is atypical historically. Demand was further supported by California’s and Massachusetts’ cage-free mandates which went into effect Jan. 1, 2022, as well as more retailers shifting to selling more cage-free products.

The company reported operating income of $259.9 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2023 amidst a challenging environment with higher costs across various inputs including feed, labor, packaging, and distribution. Overall, farm production costs per dozen increased 22 percent, or 19.3 cents, compared with the prior-year period, primarily tied to significantly higher feed costs. For the second quarter of fiscal 2023, feed costs per dozen were 68.5 cents, a 29.5 percent increase compared with the second quarter of fiscal 2022.

Supplies of corn and soybean remained tight relative to demand in the second quarter of fiscal 2023, as evidenced by a low stock-to-use ratio for corn, due to weather-related shortfalls in production and yields, ongoing disruptions related to the COVID-19 global pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war and its impact on the export markets. Additionally, basis levels for corn ran significantly higher in the company’s area of operations compared to prior year second fiscal quarter, adding to the company’s expense. For fiscal 2023, the company expects continued corn and soybean upward pricing pressures and further market volatility to affect feed costs.

Product mix & cage-free eggs

Cal-Maine Foods is committed to sustainably meeting evolving customer needs with a product mix that aligns with current and expected demand trends, the company notes. Specialty eggs remain a primary focus of the Company’s growth strategy.

As market demand for specialty eggs, especially cage-free eggs, has increased, Cal-Maine Foods has made substantial investments in its production facilities to expand the company’s cage-free capacity and distribution capabilities. A significant number of Cal-Maine Foods’ customers previously announced goals to offer cage-free eggs exclusively on or before 2026, though some of these customers have extended those timelines to the end of 2030. The company continues to monitor the increasing demand for cage-free eggs and to engage with its customers in efforts to achieve a smooth transition toward their announced timelines for cage-free egg sales.

For the second quarter of 2023, sales of cage-free eggs represented approximately 18.2 percent of shell egg revenues versus 22.4 percent for the same prior year period. Cage-free dozens sold increased 47.4 percent in the second quarter of fiscal 2023 as compared to the second quarter of fiscal 2022.

The company is also focused on additional ways to enhance its product mix and support new opportunities in the restaurant, institutional and industrial food products arena. On Oct. 4, 2021, Cal-Maine Foods announced a strategic investment of $18.5 million in debt and equity in Meadow Creek Foods LLC, an egg products operation located in Neosho, Mo., focused on offering hard-cooked eggs. Cal-Maine Foods serves as the preferred provider of specialty and conventional eggs for Meadow Creek to manufacture egg products.

On Dec. 13, 2022, the Board of Directors approved an additional $13.8 million investment to expand the company’s controlling interest and fund additional equipment and working capital needs to support growth opportunities for Meadow Creek. As demand for hard-cooked eggs has continued to grow, the funds will be used for additional refrigerated storage space and expanded capacity for cooking and packaging to better serve Meadow Creek’s customers. Due to delays caused by supply chain issues and plans for expansion, Meadow Creek is expected to begin operations by or before March 2023.

Table egg supply outlook

Cal-Maine Foods is closely monitoring the current outbreak of HPAI that was first detected in commercial flocks in the U.S. in February 2022. Outbreaks in commercial flocks in the U.S. have most recently occurred during each month from September to December 2022. The current HPAI epidemic has surpassed the prior 2014-2015 outbreak in terms of the number of affected hens in the U.S., and HPAI continues to circulate throughout the wild bird population in the U.S. and abroad. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these detections do not present an immediate public health concern.

There have been no positive tests for HPAI at any Cal-Maine Foods’ owned or contracted production facility as of December 28, 2022. The USDA division of Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service reported on Dec. 27, 2022, that approximately 43.3 million commercial layer hens and 1 million pullets have been depopulated due to HPAI this year.

The company believes the HPAI outbreak will continue to exert downward pressure on the overall supply of eggs, and the duration of these effects will depend in part on the timing of replenishment of the U.S. layer hen flock. Prior to the outbreak of HPAI in February 2022, the layer hen flock five-year average from 2017 through 2021 was comprised of approximately 328 million hens.

According to a LEAP Market Analytics report dated December 8, 2022, the layer hen inventory is not projected to exceed the 328 million mark again until December of 2023. Layer hen numbers reported by the USDA as of Dec. 1, 2022, were 308 million, which represents a decrease of 5.8 percent compared with the layer hen inventory a year ago. However, the USDA also reported that the hatch from July 2022 through November 2022 increased 5.8 percent as compared with the prior-year period. Cal-Maine Foods believes it has been mindful and proactive in implementing and maintaining robust biosecurity programs across all its locations and facilities. The company is working closely with federal, state and local government officials, and focused industry groups to mitigate the risk of this and future outbreaks, and effectively manage a response, if needed.

ProEgg Cooperative

Cal-Maine Foods has joined in the formation of a new egg farmer cooperative in the western United States. ProEgg Inc. is comprised of leading egg production companies, including Cal-Maine Foods, servicing retail and foodservice shell egg customers in 13 western states. ProEgg is a producer-owned cooperative organized under the Capper-Volstead Act.

Cal-Maine Foods’ membership in ProEgg is expected to provide benefits for its customers, including supply chain stability and enhanced reliability. Initially, Cal-Maine Foods’ customer relationships and customer support are expected to remain the same. At some point in the future, it is anticipated that each producer member will sell through ProEgg the shell eggs it produces for sale in the western states covered by the cooperative. Customers would have a single point of contact for their shell egg purchases, as ProEgg would have a dedicated team to market and sell the members’ combined egg production in the region.

“Cal-Maine Foods’ top priority in joining as a member of ProEgg is serving our valued customers in this important market region,” Miller said. “During this initial phase, we will continue our work to confirm that our participation in this new cooperative is in the best interest of our customers and aligns with our long-term interests. This consideration will take place before moving to the next phase of membership, and we expect this process to be completed on or before the end of our fiscal year 2023.”

For the second quarter 2023, Cal-Maine Foods will pay a cash dividend of approximately $1.35 per share to holders of its common and Class A common stock. Pursuant to Cal-Maine Foods’ variable dividend policy, for each quarter in which the company reports net income, the company pays a cash dividend to shareholders in an amount equal to one-third of such quarterly income. Following a quarter for which the company does not report net income, the Company will not pay a dividend with respect to that quarter or for a subsequent profitable quarter until the company is profitable on a cumulative basis computed from the date of the most recent quarter for which a dividend was paid. The amount paid per share will vary based on the number of outstanding shares on the record date. The dividend is payable on Feb. 9, 2023, to holders of record on Jan. 25, 2023.

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